Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Questions We Ask God

Religion & Philosophy

In Brian Morrison's very powerful poem, "Where is the Love" the speaker, looking on helplessly at humanity's destitution and distress, asks the question:
                                                                        ...God, Allah, Buddha,
                                                                      Jesus, Jehovia...Jah!
                                                                    Whatever Your name may be -
                                                                  Where on Man`s earth
                                                                Is Thy love for Humanity?" 

The inveterate inner pain, sadness, and suffering that is sometimes the experience of humanity whether from our fellow humans or from diseases or upheavals in nature often cannot be adequately expressed. But tears speak volumes, and when we are indeed able to express ourselves in words, those of us who in various ways accept the existence of One higher than ourselves resort to the kinds of questions asked by the speaker in Brian Morrison's poem. Such questions are not new. Humans, in their interaction with God/the Gods have always asked such questions through the centuries. The Book of Job comes readily to mind.

And while there are countless numbers who from time to time vigorously question God's love, His good will, His power, etc. when confronted with the many turbulences of life, there are just as many who are always ready to come to God's defense either to explain (away) the reason(s) for the suffering or for the apparent lack of God's presence or for His seeming muteness, and often regarding such questions as are asked as a lack of understanding of the ways of God on the part of the sufferer. When such questions are asked, votaries of the various religions (especially Christianity) need to simply shut up and keep their explanations in their pockets and instead show empathy or provide help.  Meaningless responses such as "God understands", "God is crying with you", or "God will deliver" don't cut it either. What means more to the sufferer in his/her loneliness, pain, and sadness is the understanding, love, presence, tears, help, etc. of peers, friends, families, or even strangers. Answers to the questions (not that there are any answers anyway) can come after amelioration of the suffering.
[Photographic Art by Ric Couchman]